Marcy Markusa: Who says Winnipeggers are whiners?

We've heard from a lot of families on the morning show over the past month about the woes of being waterless.
Two firefighters fill up jugs of potable water to be delivered to Winnipeg homes. (CBC)

We've heard from a lot of families on the morning show over the past month about the woes of being waterless.

However, just when you might expect me to blog about their troubles, let me share with you how they have been rising to the occasion in responding to a situation that is very disrupting to daily life.

Now, before I go on, it is worth saying that I realize living without water is a first world problem.

That is the reason that I personally refuse to use the word "crisis" in my blog, but it doesn't diminish the fact the situation definitely calls for some serious coping skills and those skills are alive and well in the city. These people are troopers.

For example: I dare you not to love 73-year-old Doug Mackie with his tucked in denim shirt, shiny white hair and bright blue eyes.

Doug trudges through the snow to the Woodhaven Community Centre every day. That's where he does his dishes and then it's on to Centennial Pool for a shower.

Doug told me he has started to think of himself as a boy scout out in the "wilds" of St. James. He said he is channelling Winnie the Pooh in his simple response to the frozen pipe situation, "Oh bother."

Sure, his house is a little dirtier, and his laundry is piling up, but Doug Mackie refuses to let it get him down.

This week he passed day 20 without water, and he fully expects it will be mid-April before his taps are running.

And what about Pam Kirkpatrick and her family in Wolseley?

Her two kids, age six and eight, got sick during the family's 29 days without water.

Even the family cat became ill and actually ended up being put down.

Now, I will not elaborate except to say that things are messy enough when a young family gets sick, imagine dealing with the clean-up without water. At one point Pam got a temporary hook-up, then it failed and then a pipe in her basement burst and it flooded.

So you might expect she would take to the airwaves pulling out her unwashed hair but that wasn't the case.

Instead, when we put Pam on the radio, she reasonably expressed some frustration.

Then she simply said they were missing some family time in the evening because that's when they went to the homes of friends and family to use their water for the daily essentials.

Thursday morning they got their water back thanks to a homemade solution that thawed her pipes. Pam said they drew straws for the first shower.

There was a homeowner on King Edward Street who told us how he was picking up water jugs and delivering them to senior citizens who weren't able to do it for themselves.

There is a couple in the West End who patiently moved in with family members with their four-month-old baby and visited their house twice a day to feed their dog.

And then there was Elaine Lovatt in Fort Rouge. My colleague Christopher Read visited her after living two weeks without water.

Delightful Elaine, who hails originally from New Zealand, decided she would use the snow to her advantage.

Chris found her scooping the white stuff into a preserving pan from a snowbank on her property. Elaine told Chris, "I'm clearing my yard at the same time."

Now, if that's not a pioneering spirit, I don't know what is.

This has definitely been a frustrating time for people, but I think that it has also brought out a strength of character in many that I very much admire.

I've seen it before during blizzards, floods and mosquito season. It just goes to show that our prairie “can-do” attitude is alive and well in Winnipeg.

About the Author

Marcy Markusa

Host, Information Radio

Marcy Markusa hosts Information Radio on CBC Radio One 89.3 FM / 990 AM in Winnipeg. Born and raised in the Manitoba capital, Marcy is passionate about the future of our community and loves how it's growing in both confidence and prosperity. She thrives on getting honest and straight-forward answers for listeners and infuses the show with her energetic warmth and sense of humour.